Today, Jennifer from Simplify 101, is my guest. She is sharing her example on how to tame the paper clutter. For other ways to tame paper clutter, visit my “Home management binder” post.
Here is Jennifer’s post…
These days, I’m fortunate enough to work for simplify 101 as their marketing + content coordinator, but of course that wasn’t always the case! In fact, just a year ago, there were times when you might not have been able to see my kitchen counter for all the paper clutter. I spent so much time trying to find information that had come in and then been put in a special place so it wouldn’t get lost. The trouble was that I couldn’t remember where the special place was!
Our home office is in the basement, which is not exactly on the path in from the mailbox. The kids do their homework at the kitchen table, so all those important school forms and letters bust out in the kitchen. Add in the random magazine article, project idea, recipe to try, and I ended up with a whole mess of paper clutter.
I was aware of the stress it caused in our home. And also, I have to admit that not knowing what to do about the paper clutter really caused me further stress. I wanted to be more orderly, and I felt I should know how. But the trouble was that the things I thought might work were not actually realistic. (For example, I can’t file away bills that need to be paid. Out of sight, out of mind is not good in this case!)
So, this is what I was explaining to a friend over lunch one day, and she told me about the free home reference binder from simplify 101. She emailed me the link, and it took a few days before I clicked through. But when I finally did, I read this: “Are you tired of wasting time digging through stacks of papers…searching for the same documents over and over again?” Uhhhh, yes. And clearly the simplify 101 people were writing this with my countertops in mind!
I read through the download. I wasn’t ready. But by the following weekend, I’d had enough of the paper clutter and was ready to take action. I pulled together a binder, 3-hole punch, and a few other items recommended, then I set to work.
The number one thing I loved the most was that the Command Central Binder download is set up so that you can easily chunk this project. One reason I hadn’t successfully come up with a paper management system is that it was all too overwhelming. Breaking it up into bites made me feel accomplished even when I just took a few steps towards the finish line. It also gave me time to think about how this needed to work for me.
That brings me to the number two thing I love… this isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. There are very helpful recommendations for how to set it up, but in the end it acknowledges that it needs to fit the way you will use it. If you love to dine out, you might benefit from a tab for menus, coupons, offers, and such.
The number three thing I love is that my binder is an ever-evolving thing. In the beginning, I felt that all paper needed to be dealt with instantly, so I resisted the use of an inbox. I figured this would just end up being a dumping ground for the paper clutter, and I didn’t want that. But it wasn’t realistic of me to think that I could take action, recycle or file paper so immediately. So now I keep a small inbox next to my Command Central Binder. Paper that can be dealt with immediately is, but otherwise the papers have a holding pen until I can fully deal with them. For example, maybe my daughter brings home a school newsletter. I will add this newsletter into my binder, but first I want to note her school functions on our family calendar. I will get to that when we are not in the midst of after-school snacks, homework and dinner prep!
As you can tell, simplify 101’s binder works for me (even before I started working for them!) If you don’t have a home reference binder, or if you have one that could use some adjusting, be sure to go get your free Command Central Binder!